F1 2022 season tech review: How minnows attacked new rules

Formula 1's new 2022 regulations prompted a challenge for all teams on the grid, especially with the added complication of the cost cap.

F1 2022 season tech review: How minnows attacked new rules

There were plenty of different approaches to both car concept and development programmes, with no two teams opting for identical routes.

With the dust now settled on the campaign, we take a deep dive into how each competitor dealt with the season just gone.

Williams

We kick things off with Williams, a team that was hoping to make another leap forward up the grid, having steadily climbed the first few rungs of the ladder over the course of the last few seasons.

But despite the opportunity of a rule reset, and the cost cap levelling things up against the big teams, the squad did not make the progress hoped for.

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW44

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW44

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Williams chose to head in a bold direction with the FW44's initial sidepod design. It featured a short ramp-style solution that was complemented by a rearward-facing bypass outlet, which could either allow airflow to travel through the main inlet and down over the sidepod's shoulder, or could be closed off and permit more airflow to be received by the various radiators and coolers.

Williams FW44 open vs closed sidepod

Williams FW44 open vs closed sidepod

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A comparison of the sidepod in both the open and closed states shows that an internal baffle is added above the Side Impact Spar (red arrow) when the rear outlet bodywork is in place.

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

To help stiffen the floor assembly, given a change in the regulations, the team added a floor stay ahead of the rear tyre in Saudi Arabia. Also note the inclusion of an additional cooling panel on the engine cover (where the Bang & Olufsen sponsorship resides).

Williams FW44 front wing detail

Williams FW44 front wing detail

Photo by: Uncredited

In order to cater for the demands of the Circuit de Catalunya, Williams introduced a higher downforce package, which included a revised front wing.

Aero paint on the rear of Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Aero paint on the rear of Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The high-downforce rear wing, along with the floor and engine cover, is sprayed in red flo-viz paint in order that the team can establish whether it is getting the performance it was anticipating.

Williams FW44 brake drum detail

Williams FW44 brake drum detail

Photo by: Uncredited

The high-downforce package was used in Monaco once more but the team also increased the size of the front brake duct inlet and modified the front suspension fairings to better suit the low-speed requirements of the street circuit.

Williams FW44 side view comparison2

Williams FW44 side view comparison2

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Williams realised early on that its sidepod solution wasn't going to perform to a level that met its expectations. As such, a new solution arrived at the British Grand Prix that took influence from Red Bull.

It cast aside its short ramp solution and traded it for an elongated variant. You'll also note the changes this inflicts on the engine cover cooling, whilst the floor fences are also different.

Williams FW44 new sidepods and floor

Williams FW44 new sidepods and floor

Photo by: Uncredited

In line with the changes made to the floor fences and the sidepod bodywork, the team also switched concepts on the edge of the floor too.

Williams FW44 halo winglets

Williams FW44 halo winglets

Photo by: Uncredited

Hung from the side of the halo, two winglets could be found. These featured a horizontal baffler and an L-shaped winglet, both of which re-purpose the local airflow to better cater for the changes made around them.

Williams FW44 front wing comparison

Williams FW44 front wing comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

Changes were also made to the front wing, with the pivot and flap adjuster positions switched for better flow management.

Williams FW44 technical detail

Williams FW44 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A look under the covers of the FW44 at the Italian Grand Prix, noting that the team retained its saddle cooler arrangement above the power unit after the sidepod update.

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, the rear wing also underwent surgery as the trailing edge of the upper flap was trimmed back and then fitted with a Gurney flap.

Williams Racing FW44 cockpit

Williams Racing FW44 cockpit

Photo by: Williams

The view from inside the FW44's cockpit, with Williams still retaining its butterfly-style steering wheel and screen mounted on the dashboard.

Williams FW44

Williams FW44

Photo by: Erik Junius

A look at the internal make-up of the front brake assembly prior to the main 'cake tin' being put in place. The internal flow diverting fairings have also been coated to help manage temperature transfer.

Williams FW44 side cooling

Williams FW44 side cooling

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

To help cope with the temperatures and effects of the altitude, Williams installed a larger louvred cooling panel on the FW44.

AlphaTauri

While AlphaTauri has never had the size of resources of its sister Red Bull team, it has managed to punch above its weight many times over the years.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Erik Junius

It has often come up with some innovative solutions that prove to be quickly adopted by rivals, but its hopes of a giant-killing performance in 2022 did not come to fruition.

An overview of the AT03's rear end, including the ramped sidepod, high-waisted rear cooling outlet and spoon-shaped rear wing.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: AlphaTauri

A new rear wing was employed in Saudi Arabia that retained the same DNA but featured a shallower spoon-shaped main plane, reducing downforce and drag.

AlphaTauri AT03 in the garage

AlphaTauri AT03 in the garage

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A shot of the AT03 as it is prepared for action in Imola gives us a great view of some of the details that would otherwise be hidden by bodywork, including the front brake ducting, sidepod radiator layout (including the flow baffles) and the saddle-style position for the cooler above the power unit.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Changes were also made to the floor edge for the Emilia Romagna GP, with the scrolled midsection optimised to improve flow conditions.

AlphaTauri AT03 rear detail

AlphaTauri AT03 rear detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A new high downforce rear wing arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix, sans white paint, as the team also looked at ways in which it could save weight.

Mechanics push the car of Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Mechanics push the car of Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The high-speed nature of the Baku street circuit saw the team trim back the trailing edge of the upper flap on the front wing and make modifications to the beam wing in order to match its rear wing choice.

AlphaTauri AT03 technical detail

AlphaTauri AT03 technical detail

Photo by: Luke Smith

The team made changes to the floor fences at the French Grand Prix, resulting in further optimisations to the edge detailing too, in order that they worked in conjunction with one another.

Alpha Tauri AT03 rear

Alpha Tauri AT03 rear

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The engine cover bodywork was also widened from the halo transition rearward, resulting in a ledge that the airflow could follow.

AlphaTauri AT03 technical detail

AlphaTauri AT03 technical detail

Photo by: Luke Smith

Changes were also afoot with the diffuser, as the team looked to maximise the performance gains granted by the alterations ahead of it.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Flo-viz was painted on the rear wing, which was updated at the Hungarian Grand Prix in order to increase downforce. The changes revolved around the tip section of the wing, with the outermost section squared off into the endplate.

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing detail

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another change in profile for the Belgian Grand Prix, as its low downforce rear wing was also treated to a more squared-off profiling, which increases the wing's span.

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another change to the higher downforce rear wing was introduced at the Dutch Grand Prix, as the team tightened the radius where the main plane meets with the endplate.

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing detail

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri opted for the same rear wing design at Monza as the Belgian Grand Prix. This time, however, it chose to remove the Gurney flap and tweak the shape of the upper flap's trailing edge.

AlphaTauri AT03 nose detail

AlphaTauri AT03 nose detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri's last big ticket development item came at the Singapore Grand Prix, as the team made a significant change to the design of its nose. The design up until this point had resulted in the nose tip projecting out beneath the front wing mainplane, a feature only seen on the AT03.

However, the update saw the tip moved to the upper surface and the main plane arched downward in the central section.

AlphaTauri AT03 front wing comparison

AlphaTauri AT03 front wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The comparison view of the two nose styles from below shows how the main plane reaches a tip of its own with the newer design, altering the airflow's passage and resulting in a different pressure gradient both above and below the nose and front wing assembly.

AlphaTauri AT03 engine cover cooling

AlphaTauri AT03 engine cover cooling

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For the Mexican Grand Prix, AlphaTauri used its maximum cooling louvre arrangement, in order to meet the altitude and temperature demands of the circuit.

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing

AlphaTauri AT03 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team also used its largest rear cooling outlet of the season.

Haas

Haas had sacrificed its 2021 campaign in order to focus on its 2022 car, as it knew that putting resources in early would pay dividends against its closest rivals.

But, despite a strong start to the year, and that shock pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the American-owned outfit endured a bit of a rollercoaster campaign with some difficulties in the middle phase.

Haas VF-22 details

Haas VF-22 details

Photo by: Haas F1 Team

Haas immediately exposed a volume alongside the cockpit that allowed for various winglets and fairings to be added that can have an aerodynamic impact (blue arrow).

At the rear of the car, the engine cover's shark fin was raised, allowing for another outlet to run along the spine and help reject the heat being created from beneath the covers of the car. This also enabled the rear outlet to be a little smaller than you'd ordinarily expect.

Haas VF-22 details

Haas VF-22 details

Photo by: Haas F1 Team

The front wing endplate was also home to another couple of interesting and novel solutions, with the leading edge given a knuckle-like finish, whilst the dive plane resembled that of a wishbone, likely creating a very different aerodynamic profile to that of its counterparts.

Haas VF-22 floor fences

Haas VF-22 floor fences

Photo by: Uncredited

The team's biggest upgrade of the season came at the Hungarian Grand Prix and featured several new components, including a revision to the floor fences, seen here.

The older specification floor relied on taller fences to help control the airflow's passage over the floor and into the tunnel entrance (inset), a design feature which was abandoned.

Haas VF-22 new sidepods, Hungarian GP

Haas VF-22 new sidepods, Hungarian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another of the design concepts incorporated into the VF-22 as part of the upgrade at the Hungarian Grand Prix, was the switch to a sidepod with the Ferrari-style bathtub, whereby a depression is found on its upper surface.

This not only resulted in a change to the surface geometry but also the louvred panel used to reject the heat generated within.

Haas sidepod comparison

Haas sidepod comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

The change to a bathtub-style upper surface also constituted a change in the sidepod's overall shape, as can be seen by the green lines on the main image and the yellow lines in profile.

These changes are expected to help manage the tyre wake generated by the front tyre, which was also different owing to the introduction of a more traditional dive plane on the front wing endplate at the British Grand Prix (blue arrow).

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